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Seeking to Eliminate Violence

Through ethical engagement, the SIS Department of Peace, Human Rights & Cultural Relations seeks to eliminate violence, ranging from war and genocide to interpersonal and structural violence. We work to achieve this essential goal through theoretical, policy-oriented, and ethical research and by educating our students in conflict resolution, human rights, international and intercultural communication, economic justice, and the role local, national, transnational, and international actors play in promoting and undermining these ideals. Our interdisciplinary faculty engage a range of critical perspectives, including feminist and post-colonial perspectives, and share a commitment to peace, dignity, and justice.

Global Solidarity and Resistance for Justice in Palestine

4/8, 5:30-7:30pm, SIS Founders Room

This public event features organizers and activists from USA and internationally who advocate for justice in Palestine and oppose US and other governments support and complicity in the ongoing War on Gaza. 

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Our Programs

Graduate programs and undergraduate thematic areas in the Department of Peace, Human Rights & Cultural Relations focus on identifying the causes of conflict and its intersections with vulnerable populations so that ethical and just resolutions honoring human dignity can be achieved.

Master's degrees

Offered jointly through the School of International Service and the Department of Philosophy and Religion in AU’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Ethics, Peace, and Human Rights program offers an ethical approach to contemporary global problems. The purpose of this interdisciplinary program is to prepare you in the practical application of ethical theory and policy analysis so you can approach difficult ethical choices in global affairs.

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The Intercultural and International Communication program prepares emerging global leaders to shape communication at the international, inter-organizational, and interpersonal levels. The first program of its kind in the United States, the program's faculty and alumni continue to lead the field in concentrations, including public and cultural diplomacy, international education, intercultural relations, global social media, technology and policy, and global health communication.

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The International Peace and Conflict Resolution program is the premier choice for those seeking careers related to conflict and peace. We prepare graduates to be peacebuilders in a wide variety of professional settings and political contexts. You will gain deep insight into the causes and impacts of war. You will learn the strategies and practices for resolving armed conflict and for preventing its resurgence, and you will learn to stand with populations impacted by war so that they can be collaborative agents of peaceful transformation. The program is committed to contributing to sustainable peace by addressing root causes and overt manifestations of violent conflict.

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Undergraduate thematic areas

Issues of identity, whether avowed or ascribed and socially constructed or naturally derived, fundamentally shape people's lives and society. In particular, race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and nationality are determinate identities for many, though in reality, everyone holds multiple identities at the same time. Although these identities often appear to be static and fixed from the outside, they are dynamic and ever-changing, driven by the broader cultural and social influences in which they arise and exist. Courses in this Thematic Area examine the nature of these identities in a world in transition. Our courses, embodying both theoretical and grounded approaches, explore each of these identities in their own right, as well as in a historical and an intersectional manner that explores the relationship between them.

Gateway Course

SISU 260 Identity, Race, Gender, Culture (multiple sections available)

Thematic Area Courses

*Course offerings vary by semester. Alternative and/or additional options may be available.

  • SISU 348 Gender and Development
  • SISU 360 Race and Ethnicity Across the Americas
  • SISU 360 Global Perspectives on Diversity and Intergroup Tolerance
  • SISU 360 Borders, Migrants, and Refugees in the Twenty-first Century 
  • SISU 379 Post-Revolutionary Iran
  • SISU 379 Nazi Germany and the Making of the Holocaust

The courses that constitute the Justice, Ethics, and Human Rights Thematic Area wrestle with the thorny issues of justice, equality, and human rights. How do we create more just societies? What are the conditions that promote or impede collective violence and mass murder? What kinds of peace settlements are long lasting? Can we protect human rights and simultaneously reduce poverty and inequality? What kinds of criminal and transitional justice systems are both fair and effective at reducing abuse? Students in the program will learn about an array of empirical cases and master the pertinent theoretical and ethical debates.

Gateway Course

SISU 270 Justice, Ethics, and Human Rights in International Affairs (multiple sections available)

Thematic Area Courses

*Course offerings vary by semester. Alternative and/or additional options may be available.

  • SISU 350 Pandemics, Ethics, and the Public Health Response
  • SISU 370 International Justice: Pursuing Accountability
  • SISU 370 Justice, Ethics, and Human Rights for Indigenous Peoples
  • SISU 370 After War: Rebuilding Shattered States
  • SISU 370 Historical Justice, Memory, and Human Rights
  • SISU 370 Human Rights, Politics, and Practice
  • SISU 370 International Politics and the Crime of Genocide: From the Genocide Convention to the Responsibility to Protect
  • SISU 379 Nazi Germany and the Making of the Holocaust

The Peace, Global Security, and Conflict Resolution Thematic Area explores the causes and consequences of war as they relate to competing understandings of peace and security. Courses in this area help students assess the choices as well as challenges involved in preventing, resolving, and managing conflict. Students engage theories and historical cases from international security, strategic studies, human security, peace studies, and conflict resolution to conceptualize war and insecurity. The gateway course begins this journey by establishing the broader philosophical traditions associated with competing schools of thought. Students examine the different definitions of peace, security, and conflict as well as general patterns of violence and insecurity in the world. The course builds on this foundation by introducing students to the dynamics of political violence and different peacebuilding and conflict resolution mechanisms.

Gateway Course

SISU 210 Peace, Global Security, and Conflict Resolution (multiple sections available)

Thematic Area Courses

*Course offerings vary by semester. Alternative and/or additional options may be available.

  • SISU 310 Gender and Conflict
  • SISU 310 Gender and Peacebuilding
  • SISU 310 Nonviolent Struggle in Theory and Practice
  • SISU 310 Peace, Conflict, and Economic Development
  • SISU 318 Insurgency and Counterinsurgency
  • SISU 318 The "Revisionists": Chinese and Russian Politics and Foreign Policy
  • SISU 319 Arab-Israeli Relations
  • SISU 330 Intelligence and National Security
  • SISU 330 U.S. Grand Strategy
  • SISU 330 Negotiating Global Challenges
  • SISU 359 Environment, Conflict, and Peace

Master's Certificates

Prepare yourself for diplomatic work by studying peacebuilding techniques, practices, and strategies as it exists in the realm of international affairs. Engage with with scholarship and policy on topics such as conflict resolution, alternatives to violence, negotiation practices, and reconciliation strategies. Open to students with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution. Applicants must submit their official transcripts along with a one page statement of purpose.

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Expand your communications skills and expertise with this certificate on culturally specific communication. Develop your background for global affairs and diplomatic work with studies focused on the cultural bases on international politics. Enage with scholarship, policy, and discussion on topics such as the psychological perspective of differing communication styles, cultural influences and background, and intercultural relations on a global level. Open to students with a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited institution. Applicants must submit their official transcripts along with a one page statement of purpose.

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